I was browsing a food magazine at the barber over the weekend and they had a feature on 'Downtown Izakayas'. Since everyone thinks Monnaka is so shitamachi, there were of course a few places. Daruma is the most downtown place in Monnaka, I think.
For a long time I knew it as 'the grubby-looking place that's always full and has a strange old guy standing outside who wants to shake my hand'. I worked up a pretty good line in going up to that guy after work and saying "Geez, it's always full, huh?" Finally I got in.
The menu is super-standard. Maguro cubes, butakimchi, tsukune, a big pot of (motsu) curry that's always on the boil, unohana, edamame, etc. I was just really surprised by how tasty the butakimchi was, and I wanted to go back to eat it again. It was good the second time too. Drinks are limited to beer, sours, etc., and in fact there's the super down-home touch that you don't get to choose the flavor of sour that you want - they deliver a mug of liquor and soda, and you make use of the bottle of lemon and lime syrup scattered along the counter! Service is loud, brisk and somewhat friendly. I think this is sorta Kansai style!
Geez, Tabelog scores this a 2.9. Snobs.